(Minghui.org) The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) announced on November 30 that its former leader Jiang Zemin had died. Because of the CCP’s censorship and information blockade, ordinary citizens in China may not see an impartial evaluation of Jiang. Instead, they will only see CCP propaganda singing his praises. So exactly what kind of person was Jiang?
In traditional Chinese culture, a person is defined by his moral values. “With a righteous mind, one can improve his character; once character is improved, harmony in the family will be achieved, which then leads to a well-governed state, which in turn will result in a peaceful society,” states Da Xue (Great Learning) in the Confucian classic Li Ji (Book of Rites).
The CCP’s Cultural Revolution (1966-1976) purged a lot of traditional elements in its attempt to brainwash people with its communist ideology. After the revolution died down, in order to win back people’s trust, the CCP started various initiatives and campaigns to promote civility. While such propaganda was influenced by the CCP Party culture, it nonetheless helped to maintain moral standards to a certain degree. There was still trust between family members, neighbors, relatives, and friends.
A State of Corruption
All of this changed in the 1990s after Jiang rose to the top by suppressing the democratic movement in 1989. Because of the Tiananmen Square Massacre, Chinese citizens in general have lost hope in communism. But since the CCP had destroyed traditional Chinese culture and eliminated traditional faith systems, the spiritual void felt by so many was filled by the temptation of getting rich quick. Wealth became the main criterion to define a person.
Since he rose from the spilled blood of democracy advocates and students, Jiang lacked public trust. In order to win CCP officials’ loyalty, he issued titles and promotions and gave certain officials special privileges. These officials became more and more corrupt, but as long as they followed Jiang, Jiang didn’t care. Chinese netizens dubbed Jiang the “head coach of corruption.” His modus operandi, “amassing wealth while keeping a low profile” was well propagated and adopted.
As Jiang and his subordinates used their political influence to line their own pockets, average citizens also got the hint to make money at all costs. The widespread phenomena of counterfeit products, rampant pollution, and increasing violence became alarming.
Jiang’s promotion of corruption was totally against traditional Chinese values. Instead of improving his character, he took the lead in being promiscuous; instead of harmonizing the family, he allowed his family members to amass astronomical amounts of assets by leveraging his political power; instead of governing the country well, he started the so called “stability maintenance” to intensify suppression of ordinary citizens; instead of promoting a clean environment and upright marketplace, he ruined natural resources (water, soil, and air), and promoted counterfeit goods.
To advance such an agenda, Jiang needed to dispense with traditional values and the moral foundation of society. That was why he could not tolerate the peaceful meditation system of Falun Gong.
A Pure Land Threatened
Introduced to the public by Mr. Li Hongzhi in 1992, Falun Gong improves physical health and moral character by teaching its students to live by the principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance and to be good people.
Falun Gong’s miraculous power in keeping fit and uplifting character quickly drew a huge number of practitioners. Before Jiang started the persecution of Falun Gong in 1999, there was one practitioner for about every 10 citizens. When a person fell ill, someone might suggest, “Why not try Falun Gong?” When someone did something bad, someone might comment, “Why don’t you look at how those Falun Gong practitioners behave.” Based on the results of a large-scale survey, Qiao Shi, Former Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC) of China, concluded, “Falun Gong will benefit our country and people greatly without any harm.”
A follower of communism’s ideology of “falsehood, viciousness, and class struggle,” Jiang could not tolerate Falun Gong and the principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance. Even though most other Central Politburo members opposed the idea of a persecution, Jiang went ahead and launched the nationwide suppression. “Whoever is active in persecuting Falun Gong will be promoted,” he declared.
To ensure a systematic persecution, Jiang established the extralegal agency known as the 610 Office. From the Central CCP Committee on down through lower agencies at all levels, the 610 Office penetrates the entire state apparatus, especially law enforcement, the courts, and procuratorates. Jiang had tight control of the Political and Legal Affairs Committee (PLAC) system between June 1989 and March 2002, and then from 2003 to 2012. His brutal regime was the dark force that dominated China at the time.
A Collapsing Society
Jiang’s toxic influence led to dire consequences. After Jiang’s death, some foreign media outlets commented that he at least ensured economic growth during his tenure. But economist Niu Wenyuan, adviser to China’s State Council, said that behind the GDP numbers is the sacrifice of future generations. For example, China contributed to less than 4% of the world economy in 2003, but it consumed one-third of the resources including coal, steel, and cement.
Xie Zhenhua, head of China’s State Environmental Protection Administration, cited the World Bank’s data showing that the losses caused by air and water pollution took up about 8% of the GDP in 1995. The Chinese Academy of Sciences estimated that the environmental and ecological losses in 2003 occupied 15% of the GDP that year.
Chinese people had about 2 mu (or 0.33 acre) of land per capita in 1980. After major corruption became widespread after 1990, the land was largely ignored, causing desertification and soil erosion. By 2003, there was only about 1.4 mu (or 0.23 acre) per person.
The scarcity of land was accompanied by an increase in pollution. The amount of cadmium in the soil increased from 0.097 mg/kg in 1990 to 0.3 mg/kg in 2014. A report from the School of Public Health at Columbia University indicates that the amount of lead, cadmium, and mercury in Chinese immigrants in the U.S. was much higher than in other ethnic groups. For example, the amount of cadmium in Chinese immigrants’ blood is 69% higher than that of other groups.
Another destructive policy of Jiang’s was the strict one-child policy. Jiang mandated a one-task veto system in carrying out the one-child policy, meaning that officials’ performance would be deemed unsatisfactory if even one single task concerning the one-child policy did not meet the set criteria. Given such a system, officials at various levels did whatever it took to stop women from having a second child. The fertility rate dropped from 2.3 per woman in 1990 to 1.22 in 2000. With such a low fertility rate, the one-child policy should have been abolished in 2000, but Jiang still instituted the Population and Family Planning Law in 2001 to continue the one-child policy. This led to a declining population and major gender imbalance (a much larger proportion of men than women).
Jiang also led China’s moral decay in the fields of culture and entertainment. Under his watch, the sex industry boomed in the military, including the Departments of General Staff, General Logistics, and General Administration. In 1995 alone, the branch of the General Staff Department had 15 such facilities that hired 476 young women who provided “full” services. This quickly spread to cities and counties throughout China.
Besides the sex industry, gambling also grew exponentially. There was a folk song saying, “Among the 1 billion Chinese people, 900 million are gambling and the rest are watching.”
In addition to sex and gambling, the rise in drug abuse is also alarming. The number of drug addicts increased quickly, even by official CCP numbers:
70,000 in 1989148,000 in 1991520,000 in 1995681,000 in 1999860,000 in 20001 million in 20021.05 million in 20031.14 million in 20041.34 million in 2009
But these are just the reported numbers. It is estimated that only one out of 7 drug addicts was normally reported, meaning there were about 10 million drug users in 2009.
Beyond the Bottom Line
While Jiang corrupted the entire society, he was also relentlessly persecuting Falun Gong. According to Minghui Report: The 20-year Persecution of Falun Gong in China, at least 2.5 to 3 million Falun Gong practitioners were arrested between 1999 and 2019. Because of their belief in Falun Gong, these innocent Chinese citizens were detained, fined, had their personal property confiscated, were terminated from their jobs, sent to labor camps, and imprisoned. Many were subjected to torture, forced labor, psychiatric abuse, and even forced organ harvesting.
The persecution of Falun Gong has made nearly every citizen a victim. The forced organ harvesting, for example, has spread from Falun Gong practitioners to Uyghurs, other minority groups, and even to ordinary citizens. Many teenagers have gone missing and their family members suspect they may have become victims of organ harvesting.
The Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC) released its annual report on November 14, 2022. “Falun Gong adherents faced brutal hardship, including custody-related deaths, lengthy prison sentences, and harassment, and a peer-reviewed study validated years of appalling anecdotal accounts of Falun Gong prisoners being executed by the harvesting of their organs,” stated the executive summary.
The China Tribunal, an independent people’s tribunal, issued a judgment stating, “The Tribunal’s members are certain – unanimously, and sure beyond a reasonable doubt – that in China forced organ harvesting from prisoners of conscience has been practiced for a substantial period of time involving a very substantial number of victims.”
“Forced organ harvesting has been committed for years throughout China on a significant scale and that Falun Gong practitioners have been one – and probably the main – source of organ supply,” continued the judgment.
Now is the time to review the tragedies caused by Jiang and the CCP. By rejecting the regime, embracing traditional values, and helping innocent Falun Gong practitioners, we will be back on track.
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